Worker falls from Throgs Neck Bridge

Photo by Rebecca Henely
By Rebecca Henely

John Massas, a 35-year-old painting subcontractor, still had not been found Tuesday night after falling from the Throgs Neck Bridge into the Long Island Sound Friday.

Massas was working on the bridge Friday on a platform below the roadway when he fell off into the water, authorities said.

Members of the NYPD, FDNY and U.S. Coast Guard, among others, searched for the worker throughout Friday morning. At 12:30 p.m., the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said in a statement that finding Massas was now considered a recovery mission, meaning that he was thought to be dead.

“MTA Bridges and Tunnels extends its condolences to the worker’s family, friends and co-workers,” the agency said.

MTA said Massas, who was employed with subcontractor Nuco Painting Corp., of Islandia, L.I., had been working in the middle of the bridge’s span, which runs from Bay Terrace to Throggs Neck, Bronx, before he slipped off the platform after 8 a.m.

Nuco declined to give a comment. The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades Home Local 806, which Massas belonged to, also did not respond to a request for comment.

The Coast Guard said Friday it sent out two boat crews from Kings Point, L.I., and a helicopter crew from Atlantic City, N.J.

The FDNY was on the scene from about 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., when it closed down its operations, a spokesman said.

The MTA said Massas was working on part of a $25 million, two-year rehabilitation of the bridge’s structural steel. The contractor on the project was Elsol Contracting & Construction, which has multiple locations throughout Queens, the MTA said.

Massas lived in the Bronx with his wife and three children, the New York Post reported.

Carmen Gonzalez, Massas’ mother-in-law, told the newspaper Massas loved his job.

“He was a very good husband, a good father,” she told the Post. “He was saving money for their children’s college. He didn’t want his children to be like him, painting.”

The agency said all workers are required to wear safety harnesses, and the circumstances as to why Massas fell were under investigation by Bridges and Tunnels’ Health and Safety Division, the U.S. Occupation Safety and Health Administration, the city Office of Emergency Management and the NYPD.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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